591 Days!

Praying Man

     Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Psalm 118:1

     We are now 37 days away from our departure to Uganda. As we approach our move date, I keep finding myself looking back. I’m not looking back at what I am leaving behind, because that is hard! There are many people whom I love dearly, many places where I love to spend time, many experiences in which I love to be involved and many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I love to worship worship. I am an emotional person, looking back at these makes me want to cry. So I avoid looking back. But something calling me to look back.
Some things are unavoidable. Today marks the 591st day since our family became an official part of MTW. That translates to 1 year, 7 months and 14 days. We have been raising support for 591 days! That’s a long time… That’s about 6 months longer than what I allowed in my timetable. 6 months longer than what I figured it would take for “Me” to recruit the required supporters. 6 months longer than my ego wanted to accept. But now, 130 days later than my target deployment date, I am now looking back.
As I said earlier, I have tried to avoid looking back. But my gaze has been caught and now I can’t seem to stop looking. So what do I see when I look back? I see the loving work of my Steadfast Heavenly Father. 123 times in the Book of Psalms, the psalmist use the attribute “steadfast” to describe the LORD. So what is the definition of steadfast?
Mr. Google offers this definition: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. These wonderful synonyms are also offered: loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated, dependable, reliable, steady, true, constant, staunch, solid, trusty, etc… This extra (unwanted by me) 6 months has been a trial for sure. One of those pesky trials that everyone always complains about. But it was a trial that I see as a blessing now and one for which I thank God!
I now understand a little better this passage that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:

So we do not lose heart.Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Cor 4:16-18

     During these additional 6 months, I was convicted. I was tried and I was found guilty of idol worship.The Holy Spirit showed me that my idol was not some carved image, it was something much worse. It was my self-righteousness and my self-worth. The Heavenly Father, in His goodness cause me to fail, I failed to meet “my” goal. Failure is a great motivator to realize where I had placed my confidence and on what I had placed my hope.
When December 2014 came and we were only 52% supported, the Holy Spirit shook my heart. At the depths of my failure, I realized that I was “afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken and struck down, but not destroyed” (2Cor 4:8-9). I realized that while I was not steadfast to my God, He was steadfast to me! I realized that the eternal weight of glory being prepared for me was not a stockpile of my glory, it was an overflowing of Christ’s glory.
How amazing Christ’s grace is when it makes a 6 month delay seem so momentary and light! What a wonderful blessing to see tangibly how my God is: loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated, dependable, reliable, steady, true, constant, staunch, solid, trusty! Thanks to this “trial”, I can now gladly sing these words:

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:21-24

     His mercies are new everyday! Early last week, we received the news that we received the final pledges needed to reach our goal. We are now 100% supported! This was not accomplished by me but was fully accomplished by the merciful overflow of Christ’s goodness. So I will sing praises to Him:

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

Psalm 95: 1-7
Grace and Peace to you,
Jeremy.
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